Instagram Private Showrooms

Photo Credit: Jonathan Simcoe

In case you missed it, Instagram is where it’s at. In less than 7 years, Instagram has proven one of the most engaging, durable platforms of social times. With more than 400MM users and projected media revenues of $2.81B this year alone, marketer’s interest shows no sign of subsiding any time soon.

Instagram affords modern marketers each of their most desired marketing models:

  1. Owned — posting visual content for their audience
  2. Earned — fan engagement and sharing
  3. Paid — targeted advertising and media
  4. Commerce — indirect and direct selling

Not all methods are created equal, of course. As advertising has become more widely available, most brands are falling back to their ready diet of paid media over the harder-to-scale earned, authentic media — who can blame them, right? Old habits die hard.

That said, there’s still a great deal of innovation, both as the Instagram platform expands and through clever uses of the tools available today. Smart brands have often experimented with the limits of Instagram, specifically looking for ways to drive deeper awareness and engagement with their customers. Consider the @nikelab account which provides one of their more innovative corners to showcase the state of the art.

Recently, a new “trend” may be emerging which is quite interesting at face value. Brands are now turning to private Instagram accounts as a means of offering private showrooms to influential and loyal customers and fans. Companies like Everlane and Alice + Olivia are leveraging this technique as their very own, standing focus groups.

“It’s like an Instagram incubator,” Red Gaskell, head of social media at Everlane, told Glossy in a previous article. “We want to gauge criticisms, and we’re making it private in order to have a curated, high-value experience. People will feel like they’re in on something.”
Source:, “Alice + Olivia launches private Instagram for top consumers

This model has some very interesting opportunities and challenges. Private channels give brands a unique opportunity to stage new content and ideas, garner feedback on messaging and, and engage and survey their most vocal customers. Of course, turning this tool into opportunity requires both a meaningful process for determining membership and access and, of course, the ability to leverage the learnings and put them to work at scale, in realtime.

Can your brand make the leap? Who would you invite? What would you ask? How would you put it to use?

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